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Proper gain staging for tracking, mixing & mastering, plug-ins~
Old 4th March 2015
  #1
141550
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Question Proper gain staging for tracking, mixing & mastering or plug-ins~

newbie help! I was recommended from other posts that proper gain staging is crucial for more headroom while tracking/ mixing etc.

my question is, why do i need a plug? cant you just record signal at low -18dbu? instead of putting plugin on everything? what am i missing? and if i need a plug? what are some of the goods ones??

2nd question, how much db headroom is needed for mixing if the tracking is done at -18dbu (eqs, comps).. once the processing is done? where should approx output gain should be at for mixing? like -6dbu? before sending it off for mastering.

same question for mastering? how much dbu gain (5-8db?) is enough for mastering before hitting 0 clipping and give enough headroom?

thanks

Last edited by 141550; 5th March 2015 at 07:28 AM..
Old 4th March 2015
  #2
141550
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Old 8th March 2015
  #3
141550
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Old 8th March 2015
  #4
Lives for gear
 

If you record your signals at an appropriate level then you don't need a plugin to set their volume. Just use the channel fader. Some people get really anal about gain staging. If that makes you happy then so be it but the rest of us just cope. Signal too hot? Pad it down. Signal too quit? Boost it up. Master bus clipping? Then adjust your your levels. Just do it, don't worry about the people that feel the need to talk ad osmium about it.

As for your final mix volume; ask your mastering engineer what he wants. If you plan to self master..... well, that's a whole learning journey of its own. I myself keep my final mix level below -3db and like to hear a dynamic range of at least 11-16db in the loudest sections (this is before mastering mind you). Dynamic range (both pre and post mastering) varies depending on the song. Some songs sound better louder some the other way. For me loudness is a quality that should fit the song rather than be something that is "competing" with other people's music.
Old 8th March 2015
  #5
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couch11's Avatar
 

It is NOT -18dBu. It is -18dBFS( or -16dBFS, -20dBFS, whatever you decide). -18dBFS should equal 0vu @ +4dBu. That is if you were to put an oscillator plug-in on an audio track inside your DAW and it is set for -18dB peak, the output of your converter should show 0vu on a VU meter and/or read +1.23 volts on a voltmeter. If you aren't sure what all of that means, there is a thread at the top of the Newbie section that goes into more detail about it.
Old 9th March 2015
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by couch11 View Post
If you aren't sure what all of that means, there is a thread at the top of the Newbie section that goes into more detail about it.
Or you can just mix with your ears and revisit the subject *if* you have any problems.
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